This is a recipe I used to make all the time -- a smoked salmon "mousse" with cream cheese, lemon and, according to both Amanda and me, perhaps one of the most underrated ingredients out there: onion juice. The original recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma Hors d'Oeuvre cookbook, and the salmon mousse is served on what the authors refer to as "endive boats," topped with a few pearls of salmon roe and a pinch of sprouts. Amanda and I were talking about this mousse and suddenly thought, why not put it on a crostino? And since it's smoked salmon, what could be better than some nice little rye toasts? Below is the adapted recipe for salmon mousse (I add more onion juice and some lemon zest) on rye toasts. —Merrill Stubbs
Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Cut the bread into small triangles or squares and arrange on a baking sheet (you should have about 24 pieces). Bake until crisp, turning once, 10 to 15 minutes.
Combine salmon, cream cheese, crème fraiche or sour cream, grated onion, lemon juice and zest, and black pepper, to taste, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Taste and season with salt and more black pepper if necessary.
If you feel like being fancy, spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip and pipe a generous rosette onto each toast. Or just spread a little bit of the mousse on the toasts. Serve immediately.
*The salmon mousse may be prepared and refrigerated up to 24 hours ahead. Leave it at room temperature for about 20 minutes before piping/spooning onto the toasts.